Beyond the Hills Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 11 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: Alina (Cristina Flutur) arrives at a remote monastery to visit her friend Voichita (Cosmina Stratan), one of the nuns in training. Alina wants Voichita to leave her cloistered life and return with her to Germany, but as the fateful hour draws near, Voichita does not want to go, so Alina decides to stay, which is when the real trouble begins. [IFC Films] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 33
  2. Negative: 1 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Mar 7, 2013
    Even as Mr. Mungiu maintains a detached, objective point of view, allowing the details of the story to speak for themselves, he also allows you to glimpse the complex and volatile inner lives of his characters.
  2. Mar 1, 2013
    It's Cristian Mungiu's staging and compositional skill that lends the material its true sense of dawning dread.
  3. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Apr 4, 2013
    It’s a deceptively impersonal style, because Beyond the Hills seethes with astonishment and rage at a broken society marooned between the 21st century and the 16th.
  4. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Feb 21, 2013
    Enthralling, mysterious and intimately upsetting – a terrible demonstration of how poverty creates a space which irrational fear must fill.
  5. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    Mar 7, 2013
    With its long takes and deliberate pacing, Beyond the Hills is demanding but always engrossing, even during its repetitive middle section.
  6. Reviewed by: Walter Addiego
    Mar 18, 2013
    The movie deals with themes of secular and religious love, of how they may intersect and diverge, that are suggestive of Bergman or Carl Theodor Dreyer.
  7. Reviewed by: Eric D. Snider
    Mar 3, 2013
    Assisted by passionless central performances and dull dialogue, Mungiu succeeds only in exhausting our patience, not in conveying a message.

See all 33 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Jun 19, 2013
    This review contains spoilers. A group of nuns and a priest symbolically crucify a lesbian who is trying to get her former lover to leave the convent. This stunning film is not only a scathing indictment of the evil done in the name of religion but of the backwardness of Romanian society as a whole. Collapse
  2. Mar 11, 2013
    A quietly powerful film which is all the more interesting to me, coming from a mixed family Roman Catholic & Eastern Orthodox. The Eastern Orthodox traditions are well represented here, and the bull-in-a-china shop Alina is shocking in her brash willingness to pull her loved one away from the monastery at all costs. This movie is a tonic for the banal slate of films Hollywood has given us during this first quarter of the year. Expand
  3. Mar 11, 2013
    It tries way too hard to be a great film but it does suceed in being a decent watcher.
  4. Apr 8, 2014
    "Beyond the Hills" is a simple story about two friends, one of them has found solace at a covenant in Romania, while the other works in Germany, and has returned to her country in order to convince her friend to come to Germany to her. This results in themes of religion, faith, and mostly the contrast between the two characters, which seem to see the world through different eyes. To be honest, this isn't a bad movie, but the script which features an exorcism, feels dimmed and monotone. While the lack of music brings a fantastic sense of reality through the detailed natural sounds, this is a double edge sword because it also kills the tension. It's like this movie sucks you in and then, before you know it, all the excitement disappears, just so that you could get sucked in again. It feels as if it never manages to shock us or keep us engaged, like Mungiu's 2007 Palme D'Or winner "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days".
    So, this is a raw experiece without music or detailed frames, but I'm afraid the quiet and interesting universe it creates, it's a bit more interesting than what happens in it. Still, the performances are very good, as much as the script allows, and this still deserves a watch even if it feels like a sneeze that its ready to blow, only it doesn't.